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Can I receive Social Security Disability after a Stem Cell Transplant?

Published on November 12th, 2018

A stem cell transplant is a procedure that restores blood-producing stem cells in individuals who have had their cells damaged by radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Humans need blood-forming stem cells because these specialized cells develop into white and red blood cells and platelets. Stem cell transplants are often necessary for people with lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma and neuroblastoma. The Social Security Administration provides SSD benefits for children and adults suffering complications of stem cell transplants and associated treatments.

Stem Cell Transplant

What are the Side Effects of a Stem Cell Transplant?

When evaluating an application for Social Security disability benefits involving a stem cell transplant, they will determine if the following side effects are severe enough to warrant approval of the application:

  • Nausea and vomiting continuing from radiation/chemotherapy
  • Serious infections before new stem cells have a change to evolve into white blood cells and strengthen the immune system
  • Bleeding after a stem cell transplant. Platelets are essential for clotting blood. Bleeding gums, nosebleeds and other forms of spontaneous bleeding could require emergency treatment and hospitalization
  • Interstitial pneumonitis (a common lung inflammation affecting stem cell transplant patients within the first four months of the transplant)

What Criteria is Necessary to Get Approved for SSD Benefits After a Stem Cell Transplant?

The SSA lists stem cell transplants under “hematological disorders” in their Blue Book of eligible medical conditions. Hematological disorders treated with a stem cell transplant are considered a disability for one year from the time of the procedure. Applicants need to submit documentation validating the existence of one or more of the following complications:

  • Anemia
  • Retinopathy
  • Cognitive limitations
  • Chronic pain
  • Severe fatigue
  • Fever
  • Limited joint movement/joint swelling
  • Shortness of breath

Results of diagnostic tests for the disease requiring a stem cell transplant, along with reports from medical specialists detailing the patient’s side effects, must also be included in documents submitted to the SSA.

Stem cell transplants make it difficult for people to gather medical reports essential for being approved for SSD benefits. The disability attorneys at Clauson Law offer years of experience dealing with the Social Security Administration and getting applications approved. Call today to make a consultation appointment with one of our disability attorneys.


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